Allotments are good for your mental health, says research

Allotments are good for your mental health, says research


It seems our green-fingered habits are not only enjoyable but they’re also great for our mental health, says new research.

We already know that houseplants can boost our mental health, but allotment gardening also works wonders for our wellbeing.

A study published last week at the University of Sheffield showcased all kinds of benefits to come out of allotment gardening.

The 163 participants recorded high levels of social and community activity, like sharing of excess veggies, showing an appreciation of time spent outside and more awareness of wildlife.

Essentially, the pastime encourages a wide-range of positives.

One of the study’s authors Miriam Dobson said the research showed the ‘wide spectrum of mental health benefits’ such as people ‘talking about community events, the nice feeling of sharing food, knowledge and skills’ as well as a ‘connection to seasons and a joy in weather.’

Likewise, with all the fresh vegetables and herbs at a gardener’s fingertips, the activity also has a knock-on effect on physical health. 

Miriam Dobson adds that on top of the exercise involved in maintaining an allotment, people who have them are also ‘more likely to get their five-a-day fruit and vegetables than people who don’t grow their own food.’

However, the positive findings of the study also highlight that more needs to be done to make allotments available for people.

Demand for allotments have sky-rocketed this year – with many joining waiting lists for their own. These lists show there simply isn’t enough space provided nationally for the activity.

Speaking to The Guardian, Miriam Dobson said: ‘We need to provide enough land so that everybody who wants to participate in allotment gardening can. 

‘Then you can look into the best ways it can be used to facilitate growing for people that maybe don’t have the resources, time or skills to take on an entire plot but might be interested in being part of a community gardening scheme.’

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